(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Likud Central Committee is to vote on the date of the Likud leadership primary, choosing on Sunday between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s or central committee chairman MK Danny Danon’s preference.
The vote looks to be a test of Netanyahu’s power to make changes as leader of his party and Danon’s influence among Likud activists, even after the prime minister fired him from his position as deputy defense minister this summer for overtly criticizing his management of Operation Protection Edge.
Netanyahu plans to introduce a motion to hold a vote for the party’s leader on December 25, along with changes to the party’s constitution, while Danon is expected to propose that the constitutional amendments be made in December but the primary be held in January.
The Likud currently chooses its list of candidates for the Knesset via a general party primary, but Netanyahu intends to propose changes that require a constitutional amendment. He would want to choose one MK out of every 10 and have the central committee elect regional representatives, instead of the whole party.
“There is no room for power grabs in the Likud and the central committee is not a rubber stamp,” Danon said Saturday night.
The central committee chairman vowed to fight Netanyahu’s initiative to hold the primary on the same day as the vote on constitutional amendment changes, saying it will damage democracy in Likud.
According to Danon, “we must decide on the rules of the game before the game begins; therefore, we cannot hold the leadership primary before a serious discussion and making decisions on constitutional changes.”
Last week, a source close to Netanyahu pointed out that there are 46 days between the central committee meeting and the date on which the prime minister seeks to hold the primary.
“That is a lot more time than the average in the Likud, which is a month. In the past there were primaries after two weeks,” he said.
Netanyahu is expected to win the primary easily. Thus far, only MK Moshe Feiglin announced that he intends to run against the prime minister.
Sunday’s central committee meeting is also to feature a discussion of socioeconomic issues and a speech by the prime minister.